A decreasing risk of showers or thunderstorms is being forecasted for today after lightning and hail dampened an ongoing heat wave on Thursday.
Forecasters said there is about a 20 percent chance of precipitation today from thunderstorm activity associated with an upper-level low pressure area that migrated onshore early Thursday.
Highs today should stay in the lower to middle 80s before warming by several degrees on both Saturday and Sunday when they move back to the upper 80s and lower 90s. Partly cloudy conditions are forecasted through the weekend. Another heat wave is expected by Monday when highs peak in the upper 90s to near 100 degrees.
The low pressure area that triggered Thursday’s storms should continue affecting the region’s weather through Saturday with clouds and the risk of showers or thunderstorms.
The National Weather Service continued a red-flag warning for fire danger through 8 p.m.
About 450 lightning strikes were measured by detection equipment from noon to 3 p.m. Thursday, igniting a fire on the southwest side of Spirit Lake and more than 75 wildfires in northeast Washington. More than 200 firefighters, 30 fire engines, five helicopters and a 900-gallon air tanker were sent to fight Thursday’s fires, the Washington Department of Natural Resources reported.
So far this year there have been more than 500 wildfires sparked on private and public lands in the state; 100 more than this time last year. Fire danger has been upgraded from high to “extreme,” DNR officials said.
Officials with the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest reported 20 small fires – most smaller than one acre – ignited by lighting strikes, including 16 in the Methow Valley Ranger District. Combined with unusually dry fuels in the Okanogan forests, officials said the abundant lightning strikes have created explosive fire potential.
At 7 a.m. today, temperatures were in the 60s with 62 at Spokane International Airport, 63 at Coeur d’Alene, 61 in Sandpoint and 63 in Pullman.